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Youth Power Project (YPP)

Nearly one in five young people in Bushwick is "disconnected"—not in work and not in school, adrift from family and community.

MRNY's programs reach the low-income youth most at risk and support them in becoming effective thinkers, leaders and decision-makers. Our grassroots campaigns give young people—many of whom feel powerless and alienated—a voice in policies that affect them. Our programs provide academic and emotional support, cultivate creativity and critical thinking skills, and helps students seize educational opportunities.

The results? YPP members report increased confidence, improved ability to think critically and resolve differences with peers: crucial skills for college students and engaged citizens.

YPP offers political education on the rights of immigrant youth, biased policing and other top issues. YPP members have the chance to express their views through arts and multimedia projects, in our well-regarded youth newspaper and blog, Word on the Street, and through through innovative collaborations with our partners in the Hive Learning Network.

YPP engages youth—many of whom are alienated from the decision-making that shapes their lives—in high-level organizing campaigns. In recent years, YPP campaigns have helped dramatically reform biased policing and improve school discipline policies in New York City. Through this, young people gain skills in working collaboratively, thinking critically, and making broad-based change.

YPP's work to improve school discipline policies led to passage of the Student Safety Act of 2011, one of the most comprehensive reporting and transparency laws of its type in the US.

Our Student Success Centers (SSCs) were designed and implemented by YPP members to provide intensive support to low-income high school students. Peer counselors help with college essays, financial aid and applications—something that overburdened school staff simply can't do for most students. After graduation, our summer bridge program keeps in touch to ensure fall college enrollment.

In 2013, YPP supported 80% of students in four Bushwick high schools to apply for college and financial aid, achieving a 75% acceptance rate, while advocating for better college access for young immigrants.

YPP helped design and open two successful small high schools, Pan-American International High School (PAIHS) and Bushwick School for Social Justice (BSSJ), that foster civic engagement among low-income and immigrant students.

Our youth design policies to make schools throught New York City more inclusive and supportive. YPP's work aso informed the design and implementation of the City's new anti-bullying curriculum, Respect for All. We are currently piloting a peer-led restorative discipline program in four small high schools that will replace less effective zero-tolerance policies.

How We Work | Community Organizing | Leadership Development | Adult Education
Youth Development | Legal/Support Services | Policy Advocacy


Announcing a Major Expansion of Paid Sick Days

It's a new day for working class New Yorkers!

On January 17, Mayor de Blasio, City Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and members of the City Council announced an exciting new proposal to expand New York City's Paid Sick Days law, which MRNY and our partners helped to win last spring!

Under the original law, set to take effect this April, employers with 15 employees or more will be required to provide 5 paid sick days -- impacting one million workers. Mayor de Blasio's proposal would extend this requirement to businesses with 5 employees or more.

The new proposal also includes manufacturing workers (who were left out of the original law). Hundreds of thousands more New Yorkers will be able to take a paid day off to care for themselves or a sick family member. Read more...